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San Francisco, CA, USA

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San Francisco 6, Jason 3, The City 2, Us 2, Mr. Hirsch 1, Gay 1, Panhandle 1, Mary Helen Rogers 1, Ellen Bloom Bloomfield 1, Hud 1, Ellen 1, Spanish 1, Chinese 1, David Campos 1, John Edmond Abraham 1, Ellis 1, Bevan 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    April 21, 2013
    12:14 - 12:44am PDT  

rent controlled unit for many years. another big challenge that i see that's specific with people with hiv is people who have had either through work or through their own private purchase a long-term disability policy and allow them to have significantly greater income from federal disability and many of those folks have been able to live in housing situations which would not be affordable if they were living on ssdi or ssi. those policies term out at 62 or 65 depending what the nature of the language is in the insurance contract, and what we're concerned is there are many people that didn't anticipate to live this long who have not planned for the future, and as a result are going to find themselves in housing that they can no longer afford. with that said i just want to briefly say that many of the needs that
lgbt seniors face are the same as other seniors, and we all know in order for seniors to live independently they live affordable accessible housing that has services that allow them to live independently. i'm going to make a big guess that everybody here doesn't want to end up in a nursing home and in order to avoid that we need affordable accessible housing that has appropriate services so that we can live independently. there are many plans that you folks can reference that talk about some of the wonderful work that advocates have done over time that have not been implemented that specifically address the needs of seniors and persons with disabilities. everything from having a housing modification fund so people can do modifications to their units so that they can live independently to layering subsidies on tax credit buildings, so the lovely new
accessible housing that is developed is actually affordable to folks at the lowest income levels so just like we target homeless folks and layer subsidies in order to address the priority we could layer subsidies on tax credit buildings and get some of that accessible housing which is not affordable to our folks. maybe we can by layering some city subsidies on. there are other ideas that we've had like having a centralized data base around the affordable housing opportunities so people didn't need to run to a multd tude of housing providers and figure out the wait list for the building. there is no centralized data base. there are a ton of other ideas and i just want to reference some of the planning documents that maybe good reading for you. there is everything from the
consolidated plan -- >> oh came back on. sorry for some reason it went off but it's back. >> there is the consolidated plan that the city is required to be eligible for hud funding. this is the analysis of impediments and looks at barriers for individuals with disabilities. there is the living with dignity plan that daas created and has section of housing needs and individuals and seniors with disabilities. unfortunately given the lack of funding for affordable housing in the city we haven't been able to actualize many of the ideas over the years so i appreciate the focus you folks are bringing to this and i am happy to get you more information and support your work in anyway i can. >> great. can you stay there for a second? i think we have questions for. >>you i have a quiet out of curiosity. has anybody looked into the possibility or
feasibility of pooling all sorts of subsidies together that lgbt seniors, hiv positive people, all of those groups receive and use that pooled funds on an annual or monthly basis to invest in house something. >> there are a couple thoughts. first of all the city does something like that for some target the populations that it has prioritized so it has money -- city general fund dollars that it puts into subsidies for specific population and make some housing more afford able for folks and there is one stream targeted for people with hiv and that comes in two forms of section eight. some are attached to a building and some are vouch kers that go
a individual and some ideas in that building are more deeply affordable to folks. what i was suggesting is that on top of that the city could use city general funds to make some of the newer units that are accessible affordable and i will just say that much of the affordable housing in the city is sro's that had some level of rehab done to them that makes them affordable but those older buildings tend not to be accessible. they have limited requirements in terms of accessibility. newer construction buildings have greater requirements around accessibility, but because most new construction buildings are not built with section eight because we don't have a lot of money coming in from the federal government for new section eights, those buildings are
usually done with tax credits so the level of affordability is much lower than what our very low income clients can afford. most people on ssi can't get into a tax credit building. they are definitionally excluded so i was suggesting that the city use some level of general funds and layer a subsidy just like for homeless folks and get some of the newer accessible units affordable to our folks. >> that would be wonderful. >> okay. jazzy. >> how many clients are you seeing per day or are they repeating clients that you have worked in the past? can you elaborate on that more? >> yeah i don't have statistics with that but i can tell you we handle over 2,000 cases a year for about 1500 folks. many of those folks are returning
clients especially in housing, because those folks have on going challenges that don't necessarily get fixed readily. >> i have a few questions. could you talk a little bit your success rate in terms of stopping evictions? you talk about that and people coming in with eviction problems and how successful are you? and i know how hard it's to stop an eviction and ellis and do you have a good success rate? >> success is a challenging term to define in legal work. we can't guarantee what the out outcome of the individual case and we're not the deciders of that so i don't have statistics to tell you how many of the folks that were brought for a nuisance eviction were able to stay. what i can tell suwe're
incredibly happy everyday when we save people's housing and we do it in numerous ways in different settings along the progressive line of the eviction process, so oftentimes we are able to deal with things when an individual gets a notice and we can avoid it every getting to the point where an eviction is fileed. we're able to resolve many of the cases at settlement and again before trial where there is a lot of energy to try to resolve the case. we also -- even if we can't save the individual's housing there are a number of thing we can do to minimize the bad result so we can keep the eviction off of an individual's record. we can wave the back rent they owe. many providers won't assist the
individual if they don't have the money to pay the rent, a reasonable position because they're limited legal services and if you can't pay the rent you will probably lose anyway. we believe it's important to provide that representation so we can try to make it as easy as possible for the individual to get into their next housing situation. >> wow great. so what is affordable mean to your clients? what is the ami level for instance of your average senior, lgbt client? >> 80% of our clients have incomes of $30,000 or less. about 70% have incomes of $20,000 or less. the vast majority are on ssi or s.d sdi for me affordability is the definition of section eight where somebody pays 1/3 of their income. it's hard enough for people to live even if won the lottery and got a section eight
and as we have seen in the city if they win the lottery and literally got a section eight it's difficult to find a landlord that will take that section eight. that was highlighted when bevan dufty was working on it and got hundred vouchers for vets and able to find housing for like four of them, so that is a struggle because the affordability crisis in san francisco is so out of control right now. >> right. and finally do you know -- do you have any idea how many clients ultimately end up homeless? i know it's a difficult question. i think it's an important thing for us to look at. how many clients are ending up homeless in all of our agencies? >> i don't have statistics on that. >> okay. >> we know that some of the clients do lose. many of our clients in addition to their hiv have active mental and
substance abuse issues. despite our efforts people aren't able to manage their behaviors and they make bad choices and that could involve losing their housing. >> any other questions? >> i have a question. of the 2,000 cases that you mentioned are they all related to housing? >> no, no. that's for the total agency. 630 were housing related so you get a sense of how critical housing is for our clients. >> yes. >> thank you bill and thank you for the good work that your agency does. >> thank you. you save a lot of people. >> okay. next speaker. >> good morning. i am ellen bloom bloomfield and i serve as the social services manager at open house. we provide community support services and housing for lgbt older adults
in san francisco. >> having trouble with the mic. >> yeah, sorry about that. many of the things i wanted to address mr. hirsch addressed so eloquently so i won't go into that. i do want to say that we too at open house are seeing many no fault evictions. we have a housing clinic that we've had for about two, two and a half years in which we try to provide information to assist people in finding affordable senior housing. i realize this month earlier in the month they was taking appointments for this clinic in march for may and june. that's how great the need is right now. i would like to share with you actually a few examples of the kinds of people that are meeting in the housing
clinic. one is a 70 year old woman who had been working as i residential manager on chestnut street. part of her job she received housing. when the employer decided that she was too old to continue working they wanted to dismiss her, not only from the job, but from her housing in approximately three months. she had been on this job for about 10 years. i was able to ask for additional time knowing how difficult it is. she lives only on social social but this is the point that i think is really important. the property managers, the owners, had the assumption that her
family would take care of her in old age. that doesn't happen for most lgbt older adults because just by coming out they lost their family of origin and depending on who their friends were many of them lost most of their friend and support networks in the 80's and 90's through the aids epidemic. i have another woman that i have been seeing who is 79 years old and is living in an illegal unit. when the owners bought the building they knew the unit was there. all of a sudden they didn't know the unit was there, and so now she's being forced out. she has no place to go. she lives on social social and basically a few friends that
she can stay for a short time but her income doesn't match even affordable standards unless she gets hud 202 building. getting on those lists as you have heard already very challenging and the lists on average are between five and seven years. that's not going to help a person who needs immediate housing. also want to bring up the situation of a 61 year old man that i met in the housing clinic living in a subsidy in a building near the panhandle. there was so much drug dealing in the building that the landlord decided that he would not let any of the buzzers work. unfortunately this man was getting home delivered meals and they could not continue to deliver to him
because the buzzers were not working. this is a man who is living with aids. totally unnecessary. >> wow. >> there is also i think a pervasive pattern of insensitivity of property managers and owners to lgbt older adults. many of our older adults are living in housing that is somewhat affordable, but that has not had a major renovation or repair in so many years that the units are actually dangerous to live in. i also want to say it's unusual in the business world that property managers and tenants have such an adversarial relationship. i
know of no other business that customers and consumers relate to the same way with owners as they do in the city with property owners and managers. we also helped an older adult try to get into mary helen rogers. once again it was a very quick turn around time. they wanted him to produce a check, a security deposit and first month's rent within just a few days of meeting with him. unfortunately he was not i believe to take the unit because it was all coming way too fast. what i would like to urge you to think about today is moving quickly. the longer we wait the longer many of our community members, people who have lived here 30, 40, and 50 years will
be dispersed from our great city. thank you very much. >> thank you and i think we might have questions. can you hold on one second? i would like to know does your housing clinic only help people find housing? sounds like you do referrals to tenant houses rights as well. >> we do but we do listen which is important part and people feel alone. >> yes. >> people are traumatized by this experience. these people have a history of being traumatized just by being lgbt they have dealt with oppression in the history of their lives. it's like a repetition of that trauma. >> yes, i mention that because i work in housing rights and we are complementing the people in
the work. we don't find housing for people and i don't know many that do that. >> it's an educational workshop. we provide them with a list. we show how them how to apply and reacting to openings on the wait list. we help them fill out applications if they need it but it's basically educational. >> right. but believe me that's a lot because we can't even do that at my office because we are inundated with people with tenant problems but occasionally i will help a spanish speaking client to navigate the list and it can be intimidating and i am glad you are doing the work. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. how many clients are you seeing and how many do you think you could see figure you had the resources
? >> wow it's hard to say because we've actually had to limit the number of people we are serve. we see people two days a week. the second and third friday of the month, the second friday of the month at the lgbt center and the third friday of the month at the 30th street senior center, so if everyone were to come and show up that would be about anywhere from 13 to 15 people a month in the clinic itself and i will see people outside of the clinic at the lgbt center where our offices are. for example if they need help with their applications or they want more information. we have seen easily three i would say easily 300 people in about two, two and a half years. we could easily
see that number in six months if there were more staff and more people available for that service. >> thank you very much. >> you're welcome. >> can you tell us what demographic or any lgbt seniors coming from the city or any particular section of the city, which particular district you see them from or a flood of clients coming to the housing clinic from all sections of the city? >> great question. thank you. they're coming from all neighborhoods though i do see quite a bit from the castro area, and i am seeing people who have historically been middle class who are actually losing their economic status as a result of the downturn in the
economy. the way they planned for retirement or didn't plan for retirement and the sheer cost of housing. i think that a lot of people would not have anticipated that their once $543 apartment would now be $1,100 a month, so i am seeing a lot of people from all parts of the city and i am also seeing people who have had to leave the city, but want to come back into the city. >> right. any other questions? thank you very much ellen and thank you for the work that you do. >> thank you. [applause] >> i want to acknowledge supervisor david campos came into the room. thank you for coming in and we will ask you if you want to speak in a few seconds. we're running behind because we had a late start
today. anybody that would like to testify line up over there. everyone is welcome to speak. next speaker. take up too much time this morning. i am jason alley and the outreach coordinator working closely with our lovely folks here who are hosting this housing forum in addition to a group of community based researchers, advocates, and alleys who are concerned about the challenges facing lgbt seniors here in san francisco. i just want to sort of talk a little bit about housing in relationship to just the whole rooster of health and aging needs in the city through the lens of an important project coming this week so on line survey of lgbt and abling issues is being launched this week and
we need as many people to help spread the word so if you're 60 years or older, if you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and have relationships with the same gender and live in san francisco we want to hear from you and the advocates working on the survey have done a great job of the questions and taking the pulse of the housing and aging services needs are of lgbt san franciscans and we need everyone's help spreading the word, getting participants to take the survey. if people have challenges accessing the survey there will be paper copies available and available in five languages as well so english,
spanish, chinese, russian and that gala and it's an important study and. >> >> that we take stock of important issues for the community so i think this as the most closest we're going to get to a census around lgbt aging issues here in the city, so what i have here are sign up sheets. i'm going to pass them around through the audience. again if you're 60 years or older, lgbt living in san francisco please give us your contact information. we will get back to you about information about the survey, or if you work with seniors who are lgbt aging here in san francisco and if you could help us spread the word we will like your assistance in that regard as well. >> thank you. any questions for jason? thank you jason and
feel free to pass those around. i know people have been coming in during the hearing. i want to introduce us once again. we are members of the housing committee of the task force and david campous was one of the sponsors of that and we investigate the needs and concerns of lgbt seniors in terms of housing, just in terms of housing. there are other task forces looks into the lives of lgbt and we are tasked with what we can recommend to the city to help seniors for lgbt and we appreciate your comments. if you have ideas what you think we should recommend feel free to state them and we appreciate any hearing and i i'm going to keep the hearing going and i know we
have people that want to testify. next speaker please. >> hello. my name is john edmond abraham and i feel incredibly blessed to be here with the kind of support. i have been with aids since 1984 and i am still here which is at the get go is a great blessing until you find yourself in a position where for one reason or another you could be easily forced out of your housing, and it turns out these wonderful section eight vouchers, the hoppa voucher that i got, and i was the first section eight person in my building. now,
there are many. they're elderly but it's no longer economically a good deal. it's a good deal to get them to pay the rent because the rent is always paid but now they can get a thousand dollars more for a one bedroom apartment by simply making minimal or just improvements. some improvements need to be made because the city mandates certain things be changed. in my building the woman lies her way through her conversation with me making up the next most reasonable sounding excuse, so my problem is with management in the building where the elevator is out of service for 10 days and i'm on the fourth floor, but it's five flights up to my apartment, and if i need -- i
mean i'm alone and i have a pacemaker now. it's very difficult for me to negotiate doing laundry which is now practically unaffordable, and carrying groceries up the stairs when the elevator is broken. i feel -- i am grateful for my apartment, but i feel kind of closed in you know, and most recently we got these electronic keys instead of a key, and she wants a 50-dollar deposit for any additional which i couldn't afford the increase in the gas dryers, but this woman wants that much to get an